Belfast Telegraph

Admiral customers in line for refund after insurance renewals error

Admiral customers may find they can ditch their policies and get a refund without facing a penalty if they want to, after the insurance giant was found to have made blunders in renewal documents.

New rules introduced in April require insurers to clearly show the premium a customer paid the previous year alongside their proposed renewal premium. The changes were made to help people to shop around.

But the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that Admiral included inaccurate premium amounts in renewal documents issued to some customers by publishing last year's quoted premium before any discounts were applied - rather than the amount the customer had actually paid.

Those who are affected could include people with car insurance or home insurance policies from Admiral.

Admiral, which declined to say how many customers are affected, has agreed with the FCA to contact those customers who renewed their policies after April 1 2017 who may have received inaccurate information.

The FCA said: "If affected customers choose to go to another insurer, they will be able to cancel without penalty and will have their premium refunded."

The regulator said it is assessing firms' implementation of the new rules to ensure that firms are giving customers clear and fair disclosure on their renewal prices.

It said that while it has seen good practice, it has also seen "some concerning examples" and will continue to address specific concerns with individual firms.

Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision - retail and authorisations - said: "It is vital that insurers give customers the right information so they can easily compare premiums and make a choice whether to shop around.

"When introducing these measures, the FCA was clear that firms should be ready from April 2017. We will continue to keep a close eye on the industry's response to ensure firms are complying with the new rules and will take action where necessary."

Admiral is making changes to ensure it is fully compliant with FCA rules.

A statement from Admiral said: "We apologise for any confusion or inconvenience caused to customers who received an inaccurate renewal document.

"We are amending the way in which these customers are able to compare the price of the insurance policy being offered at renewal with what they paid the previous year.

"We are getting in touch with affected customers to ensure they are fully satisfied. Admiral is committed to offering fair and transparent pricing to all customers."

Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence, said: "Insurance customers aren't quite getting the transparency the FCA envisioned on renewal disclosure.

"We are just over two months into the new era which was supposed to help shopping around and already there are problems with the likelihood of more to come."

He said across the market generally, d rivers and home owners can save up to £100 a year by switching a provider after a year.

Gareth Shaw, a money expert at Which?, said: "It's disappointing to see how some consumers are still not being given the right information to help them to shop around or haggle for a better deal on their insurance.

"The FCA must continue to make sure that any company who breaks the rules is quickly identified and that swift action is taken to put things right."

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